MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. – Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing (RQW) are scheduled to depart here tomorrow morning to conduct a long-range overwater rescue mission to provide lifesaving medical treatment to a sailor and who suffered a head injury on board the Filipino merchant vessel, Cary Rackmers. The vessel is currently 1,000 miles off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Two MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, aircrews and Guardian Angel pararescuemen will depart Moffett Federal Airfield today, with the remainder leaving tomorrow morning en route to Cabo San Lucas. The aircraft will fly to the vessel’s location in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday morning, where the Guardian Angel pararescuemen will hoist the injured sailor off the vessel and bring on board one of the helicopters. The helicopter extraction of the patient is planned for first light on Thursday, when the vessel will be several hundred miles closer to shore.
This highlights the diversity of the highly trained and capable airmen at the 129 RQW and a rescue mission that truly knows no borders. Several 129th Airmen fluent in the native tongue will be translating for the non-English speaking crew as well as aiding in the translation for the severely injured sailor, facilitating both his medical care and support throughout the rescue process. Once rescued the patient will be transferred to an MC-130P from the 130th Rescue Squadron and flown to a level 4 trauma center in the United States.
“This is a complex rescue mission, but our highly capable airmen are ready,” said Col. Steven J. Butow, 129th Rescue Wing commander. “We have successfully executed two similar missions within the past nine months, saving a total of four lives. Saving lives when others cannot is what we do best.”
Further details will be provided as the mission progresses.
The primary mission of the 129th RQW is to train and be prepared to perform its wartime mission of combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. In addition to its wartime mission, the unit also works closely with the Coast Guard and various civil agencies on state missions. Equipped with MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft and HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, the 129th has performed a wide variety of civilian search and rescue missions, including medical evacuations of distressed persons aboard ships and lost or injured hikers. To date, the total number of people saved by the 129th is 956.
Members of the media are invited to cover the departure of the MC-130P Combat Shadow and HH-60G Pave Hawk aircraft from Moffett Federal Airfield tomorrow morning. Photos of the mission will be made available online at www.129rqw.ang.af.mil. Please contact Capt Donald LeBlanc at 650-793-1749 for more information.